Ever found yourself staring at a bold South African landscape – a sunset over the mountains, a pillar of clouds over the ocean, rolling sands of a desert – and been struck with an urge to capture its beauty? Of course you have – you live in the age of Instagram and the camera phone after all.
There’s only one problem. When you do take that picture of the once-in-a-lifetime vista, it doesn’t exactly come out the way you remember it. Everything just seems… small. Insignificant. Boring.
Wide angle photography can help solve the problem of every smartphone wielding traveller who’s been awestruck by a sunset. Thankfully, today’s cameras make it simple to learn the art of the wide angle. Using a camera specially designed to take wide angle photos, such as the LG X cam with its 120° and 13MP lens, will allow you to capture gorgeous panoramas, as the way they were meant to be viewed.
For those amateur photographers who really want to take their wide angled photography to the next level – we’re talking framed shots hanging on the living room wall and Facebook albums to die for – you’ll need to take some expert tips into account.
Find your focus
Wide angle shots excel at showcasing strong foreground elements balanced against interesting backgrounds, especially if there’s contrast between the two. This makes the choice of focal point important. Too much background without a focal area in the foreground can result in a lonely shot full of empty space.
Then there are the edges. Ever watched an old movie that’s been remastered for today’s televisions and noticed a boom mic at the edge of the frame? Because these movies were created for different aspect ratios, the wider angle of today’s TVs can lead to some unintentionally hilarious shots.
The same is true for photography. A wider angle means more of a chance for unwanted elements to sneak into your shot without noticing. When composing a wide angle shot, don’t get so focused on your focal point that you ignore what’s happening at the edges.
Spurn the same old
One of the biggest advantages of having a wide angle camera at your disposal is that you can create some unusual and unique shots thanks to the lens’ perception distortion. Pointing your phone upwards to take a picture of trees in a forest, for example, makes the trunks look like they are leaning in.
Because of this tendency to distort images, panoramic shots are ideal for landscape and architectural shots. Extreme close-up shots also benefit from this distortion, so don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your subject. Experimenting with the angle of your pictures is a great way of turning what would ordinarily be a plain shot into something much more dramatic.
While distortion can be cool, sometimes you want a more conventional shot. Be mindful of the lines of your shot. If you want to avoid distortion, simply put the camera level with the horizon or switch to standard mode.
Also be careful of taking shots of people. Their features can quickly become out of proportion – turning a normal nose into a honker, in just a single unflattering close-up. We recommend sticking to standard portrait shots for the most part, but if you do want to add some quirkiness to a shot, a wide angle shot is the way to go.
However you approach your wide-angle shots, don’t be afraid to experiment. The beauty of smartphone photography is that you can delete the images that don’t quite work and redo your shot until you get it right.